Baby robin with broken feather

I came across a baby robin on a country lane and it had a broken feather. It wasn't a blood feather I think as the shaft was white but saying that I only know about blood feathers from googling after. I removed the broken feather from the robin and not sure if this was the right thing to do. On the spur of the moment and without reference it was a judgement call but for future reference would like to know if I should just have left it.

  • Personally, I'd have left it, but I'd leave poorly birds as well so might not provide the best advice! Law of averages says it's not likely to last long, esp as you could pick it up, and clearly it's very young.
  • Thanks, I don't mind being told I did the wrong thing, that's why I posted so I know not to do it again. Like I say I had no idea or reference so acted upon judgement and if it was poor judgement then best to be told. It did fly or rather scuttle around at ground level with wings flapping.

  • Bob S, Robbo,

    Opinion is obviously split on questions like this; from the little time I've spent on these forums, Robbo's answer isn't a surprise and he's very up front about his views, which is---I think---helpful.

    Birds 'make' loads of young birds because loads of young birds die. People were doing the same thing not so long ago.

    On the other hand, yesterday morning I spent another five hours volunteering in a wildlife rehab. centre, and they have a ca. 49 percent release rate. This doesn't mean that all the animals release survive and prosper, but it could mean that even a very poor start to life doesn't need to be the end. I'm aware, for example, of a centre (continental Europe) that successfully overwinters swallows and martins.

    Many times over the years I've been told, when attempting to help individual animals and birds in difficulty, 'That's nature'. My answer has become: 'And what are you, and I? We're nature too, no?' So sometimes an animal or bird will come across a Bob S, and that's a stroke of luck... perhaps.

    I'd say that the real question here (or the one I'd be interested in getting an answer to, at least)  is not 'Should I', but 'Did I do anything wrong?' As long as intervening doesn't harm the individual (in this case a Robin) in question, each to his own world view, I would say.

    Anyone know if removing the feather could/would harm the bird? (And anyone know anything about 'blood feathers' (a new one for me)?).

    All the best -


  • Me neither Dave, hope this helps ...

    Thanks for caring Bob!


     2013 photos & vids here

    eff37 on Flickr

  • Wendy, that's great; thank you.
  • Just to defend myself as I think I'm being misrepresented here.....I am not against wildlife rehab, or taking injured birds to them.

    To be clear, what I am against is people ignoring official policy of various organisations, incl RSPB, as well as professionals like vets, by taking baby birds out of wherever they're found, dumped in the car and driven somewhere miles away for someone else to sort out.

    If a wildlife centre is local, I would box up an injured bird with a realistic chance of survival and take it there myself.

    To summarise:-
    1) is there somewhere local (within an hour there and back)? Time of day and day of week is also important to me.
    2) is it an adult or is it a juvenile?
    3) which species? (sorry, but imo pointless taking a species widely shot, to get patched up)
    4) is the bird already suffering?

    For this particular robin example, I wasn't saying anyone did anything wrong. Just made the point I wouldn't have got involved. I still wouldn't as I'm not convinced man handling and pulling a feather out resulted in something better for the bird than being left alone.
  • Robbo, so I imagine the 'misrepresenting' is me. That genuinely wasn't my intention and if you feel I've done so, I'm sorry.

    I, for the record, didn't think you were against rehab.; only that in the majority of circumstances (based on posts of yours I've read, and appreciated) you would leave a bird to its fate without intervening. There's nothing wrong with that.

    But we're all faced with the situation the original poster described and probably on a regular basis. And perhaps our approaches change over time. Mine certainly does. So, I've worked in rehab. for over a year, but I'm not convinced that rehab. is, in all circumstances, the 'right' thing to do.

    The rest of your post I agree with. Rehab. facilities in Italy are under severe strain because public awareness has risen leading to greater numbers of animals admitted; but budgets remain the same (or in Italy's case, sometimes non-existant). The same is true here in Switzerland.

    And, I wasn't saying that you'd said that Bob S had done something wrong. I was saying, or trying to, that doing something wrong, or not, is the crucial question. Not 'should I' or 'shouldn't I'.

    I hope that clears at least a few things up.

    Best regards -
  • Thanks for the responses, some interesting points of view, agreements and reading. Still not sure if the removal of the broken feather on a fledging bird was the right thing to do. When I google it just talks about removal of blood feathers.